Video Calibration simply described is correctly setting up all the aspects of user and service menus in a TV to achieve the most accurate picture possible set forth by SMPTE. No two different TVs look exactly alike, so how are you to know which one is closer to the truth? Do you just choose the one that seems to look better or brighter to you? Unfortunately when you make these comparisons in a big box retail store, the TVs that are on display are not calibrated to their best or the SMPTE standard. What you end up doing is looking at two pre-determined factory chosen presets which are supposed to grab your attention and look better than the other manufactures TVs sitting right next to it. To add to this problem how many of you watch your TV at home in the same bright fluorescent light type of environment that is found in the store?
What needs to be done to accurately determine which TVs are being faithful is to set them up or calibrate them to the same standard. After this has been done you can truly determine which TV has the brighter image or better black levels or color saturation etc. Point is only the very best TVs will excel in all levels of what makes a good-looking picture. You simply can not judge a TV by the way it looks in a store with out calibration, and you certainly can not compare or choose a TV on manufactures specifications either! Marketing is one of the biggest schemes and they sometimes publish out right lies to make the end user/buyer invest in their products.
Sending special images and test patterns to a TV will help the calibrator to see what the TV is doing wrong and will help him to adjust the controls of the TV to get the test pattern looking right or as close to correct as possible. TVs have different amounts of image correction controls that vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and even from the same companies many models.
So is there any other benefit from calibrating a TV than just having it perform to the SMPTE standard? Yes, in fact there are three main benefits from a calibration. The first is a good-looking picture. SMPTE spent many years and research in choosing the standard and you can bet that if you TV is dead on that it will look great. After all movie and TV broadcast stations have all their equipment calibrated to this standard as well. The second benefit is that your TV will be in the setting that gives it the longest lasting operating life. A calibration does not push the limit of what a TV can do to grab your attention as is the case on a typical show room floor. Instead a calibration makes sure the TV is set to its "happy" maximum performance level. The third benefit is reduced power consumption compared to out of the box "torch mode". One other aspect to keep in mind is that a brighter TV is not necessarily a better-looking picture. Have you ever tried watching an extremely bright TV at night? What happens is eye fatigue resulting in a headache or accelerated sleepiness. A proper calibration is the only way to guarantee that all aspects are correct and that you will receive the maximum enjoyment from your new or existing TV. Calibration can be done to any TV, however the amount that can be calibrated varies.